4B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - October 25, 2004
MICHIGAN 16, PURDUE 14
Jackson deserves praise
that he received in 2002
Time of Poss
EST LAFAYETTE - Purdue wide
receiver Taylor Stubblefield entered
Saturday's game as the Big Ten's
all-time leader in receptions with 274. His 11
touchdown catches in
2004 were the most in
the nation, and he aver-
aged 101.3 receivingr
yards per game - sec-
ond in the Big Ten.
But the 6-foot-1,
yesterday's game GENNARO
- maybe the most FILICE
important game of The SportsMonday
Purdue's season Column
- with just one catch
for 10 yards thanks to Michigan's forgotten
superstar, Marlin Jackson.
Two years ago, the No. 3 jersey had a pres-
ence on campus that rivaled the Von Dutch
hat. Big-name players Chris Perry, John
Navarre and Braylon Edwards had yet to fully
realize their immense talent, so Michigan's
sophomore shutdown corner became the fan
favorite - and possibly the most recogniz-
able player on the 2002 squad. But last year's
move to safety wasn't a great fit, and fans
quickly forgot about Jackson.
Jackson's relocation to safety somehow
erased the dominance he displayed during his
freshman and sophomore years - at least in
This year, Jackson returned to his old posi-
tion and picked up right where he left off -
playing like an All-American corner (which,
in case you forgot, he was in 2002). But his
excellent play prior to the Purdue game went
largely unnoticed because Michigan hadn't
faced any team with a stellar passing attack,
and Jackson had rarely been thrown at.
Against Purdue, though, Jackson was given a
chance to make fans remember No. 3.
Purdue's dangerous spread offense led by
Heisman trophy candidate Kyle Orton forced
Michigan to employ "cover one" in heavy doses.
"If you don't get any pressure on a good
quarterback, it doesn't make any difference,"
Michigan secondary coach Ron English said.
"So you gotta play man-to-man."
And Jackson was given the tough assign-
ment of shadowing the Big Ten's most explo-
sive receiver (at least outside of Ann Arbor)
for basically the entire game - a challenge
that he warmly welcomed.
"To have an opportunity to go against a
team that passes and being on the No. 1 guy,
it was great," Jackson said. "I'm a competi-
tor, and I love things like that - it was a lot
In the first quarter, Stubblefield drew
two pass interferences against Jackson (the
second one being a very suspect call). But,
besides a single late-game grab, Purdue's top
target was completely shut down for the rest
of the day. Jackson was brilliant. In bump-
and-run coverage for most of the game, the
Sharon, Pa., native overpowered the slighter
Stubblefield and rarely let him get into his
route. In the few times that Stubblefield got
off the ball cleanly, Jackson used his superior
speed to obstruct any path from Orton to
Jackson's superiority over Stubblefield had
a chain effect on the Michigan defense and
the Wolverines held a team that was averag-
ing 485 yards and 38 points per game to just
263 yards and 14 points.
"For my job, it makes it a lot easier
because I really don't have to worry about
Marlin," Michigan free safety Ryan Mundy
said. "I can be back there and I can kind of
float over to the other side because I know
Marlin's going to do his thing."
Following the game, nobody in maize and
blue seemed surprised at how one-sided the
game's biggest matchup turned out being.
"I knew Marlin was going to shut down
Stubblefield," Michigan strong safety Ernest
Shazor said. "He's just not an NFL type of
receiver. He's a great possession receiver, but
Marlin Jackson is a first-round draft pick."
Jackson said he never looked ahead to this
week, but claimed he was thrilled when the
coaching staff told him on Monday that he'd
be manning up Stubblefield for most of the
"When the day came for this game - when
we got to this week --I really just wanted to
focus in and have my best game of the sea-
son," Jackson said.
And he did.
M I C H I G A N
Marlin Jackson brings down Purdue quarterback Kyle Orton during Saturday's game.
But after the game, some bitter Boilermak-
ers were far from congratulatory.
"If I was Michigan, I'd have done the same
thing," Purdue coach Joe Tiller said. "Even if
they call (pass interference on) you, they're
only going to call (it on) you once. They ain't
gonna call you twice or three times or four
times. I've never seen it as long as I've been
in football. So it's a good strategy by them
to come up and physically mug the receivers."
Orton who, thanks to Jackson, is now as
far from the Heisman trophy as Chris Rix,
mirrored his coach's resentful feelings:
"They should call it every time it happens.
I know that officiating is tough, but that's our
offense. Our offense is based on timing and
throwing the ball and running clean routes,
and if you're getting held and you're getting
interfered with, just make the obvious calls.
"Especially on inside receivers, (the offi-
cials) say they can only key on one receiver,
and my response is that we throw the ball to
Taylor 20 times a game. He's probably a good
one to key on if you can key on anyone, so
you might want to do that."
Real classy in defeat, huh.
Oddly enough, the player that actually went
up against Jackson was very complimentary.
While he did mention a few possible pass
interferences - which is probably a common
response following every game - Stubble-
field praised Jackson's play and said that Pur-
due's offensive gameplan completely changed
with Jackson on him.
"It was a good matchup, and he did a good
job," Stubblefield said. "He did a great job,
but I can't really say that he just beat me
because there was like three plays of the
game where like I was actually going to get
the ball. There wasn't really a time for me
and him to be in the pass concept or be in the
"It was (a week I was looking forward to),
but if I don't get the plays called where it's
him and I matching up, then really it's almost
like, 'What's the point of him and I going
against each other?' He did a good job, and
maybe our offensive coordinators didn't think
that I could beat him."
Jackson forced the Boilermakers to com-
pletely nix the option of throwing at one of
the best targets in Big Ten football history.
Not too shabby.
Now the appreciation for Jackson needs to
return to 2002 levels.
Break out those No. 3 jerseys that have
been replaced by No. 15 and No. 1 and res-
urrect your "We've-got-the-best-cover-cor-
ner-in-the-nation" statements that were so
prevalent two years ago.
Because the Big Ten's all-time leader in
receptions came into Saturday's game with
274 catches, and left with 275.
Gennaro Filice can be reached at
No. Yds Avg Lg
7 316 45.1 52
7 316 45.1 62
Yds Avg Lg
54 18.0 26
54 18.0 26
Blue stuffs veteran Orton
BIG TEN STANDINGS
Team Big Ten Overall
By Bob Hunt
Daily Sports Editor
WEST LAFAYETTE - When Purdue quarterback
Kyle Orton and the rest of the offense scored an easy
touchdown on their first possession, it looked as if the
Michigan defense was ill-equipped to muzzle the Boil-
ermakers' spread attack.
Things wouldn't look that way again.
Following that first drive - when Purdue took a 7-0
lead - the Michigan defense shut down a Purdue attack
that went into the game ranked sixth in the nation in
The Michigan front seven - which had difficul-
ty creating pressure at the beginning of the season
- wreaked havoc around Orton all day. The constant
pressure affected Orton, as he suffered a hip pointer in
the first half and was uncharacteristically inaccurate on
his passes all day. The Michigan secondary - which
has had questions regarding its depth hovering over it
all season - forced Orton to throw the ball away on
numerous occasions. After Michigan cornerback Marlin
Jackson was called for two pass interference penalties
early, the Wolverines were called for interference just
one more time for the remainder of the game.
At the end of the day, the Boilermakers went three-
and-out seven times, and had just one drive after the
opener that went for more than six plays.
"I thought the defense was absolutely outstanding,"
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. "I think our coaches
came up with a great game plan."
When Purdue coach Joe Tiller came to West Lafay-
ette from Wyoming in 1997, he revolutionized how Big
Ten offenses operated. Instead of running to set up the
occasional pass, Tiller was the first conference coach to
spread the field on a consistent basis.
Purdue's sets on its opening drive baffled Michigan
mainly because it had not seen them previously on film.
The Boilermakers featured a four-wide set that included
three receivers to the left and one to the right, while the
Wolverines had just two defenders on the pack of three
receivers, leading to multiple mismatches. Purdue was
also able to run the ball, as running back Jerod Void got
six carries, including a 17-yard scamper where he ran
through a huge hole on the right side of his offensive
line. But the Michigan defense regrouped.
"In my mind, great defensive football always starts
with stopping the run," Carr said. "If you can stop the
run, now you can get to a one-dimensional situation. I
don't know how many (rushing yards) they got, but they
earned every inch of it.
"But there were a lot of negative plays, and those
plays really make it difficult offensively because you're
not third-and-three, you're not third-and-four. When
you're in those situations against Purdue, you've got a
lot of problems."
The defense was successful because of the varied
pressure it was able to place on Orton. The Wolver-
ines used a variety of blitzing schemes involving both
the secondary and the linebackers. Outside linebacker
LaMarr Woodley was dominant, sacking Orton twice,
and Pat Massey also registered a sack.
"I think we mixed it up really well," defensive coor-
dinator Jim Herrmann said. "That's a tribute to our kids
because they were able to execute the game plan and not
let him get into a rhythm, and when you can do that and
throw a quarterback out of a rhythm, you can win."
While the majority of Purdue's opponents have used
a zone defense, Michigan featured man coverage with
Jackson facing off against Taylor Stubblefield in the
slot. Stubblefield entered the game ranked second in the
conference in receiving yards, but he was taken com-
pletely out of the game, catching his only pass of the day
on Purdue's final drive.
This allowed the rest of the Michigan secondary to
focus solely on the rest of the Purdue receiving corps.
Defensive backs coach Ron English said the four cor-
nerbacks - Jackson, Markus Curry, Leon Hall and
Grant Mason - played the most man coverage they had
"Those four corners did a fantastic job," English said.
The one true defensive mishap the Wolverines had
was in the third quarter, when Boilermaker running
back Brandon Jones blew by Michigan linebacker Scott
McClintock for a touchdown. But that would be it for
Purdue, as Orton's Heisman hopes, which were sky high
just two weeks ago, became a casualty of the Michigan
THIS WEEKEND'S RESULTS:
Michigan 16, PURDUE 14
Iowa 6, PENN STATE 4
WIScONSIN 24, Northwestern 12
OHIO STATE 30, Indiana 7
NEXT WEEKEND'S GAMES:
Michigan State at Michigan 3:30 p.m.
Iowa at Illinois, Noon
Purdue at Northwestern, Noon
Penn State at Ohio State, 12:10 p.m.
Minnesota at Indiana, 2:00 p.m.
Michigan safety Ernest Shazor celebrates during Michigan's win over Purdue on
Saturday. Shazor recorded three tackles on the day.
HOW THE AP TOP 25 FARED
Associated Press Poll for the week of Oct. 19-24
Games updated through Oct. 24
NEW AP TOP 25
(first-place votes in parentheses)
1. Southern Cal.
5. Florida State
beat Washington 38-0
beat Kansas 41-10
beat Kentucky 42-10
beat N.C. State 45-31
beat Wake Forest 20-17
beat Northwestern 24-12
beat Arizona 38-0
beat Texas Tech 51-21
beat UNLV 63-28
beat Arkansas 20-14
beat Alabama 17-13
at Washington State
at Oklahoma State
at North Carolina
at San Diego State
at South Carolina
1. Southern Cal. (50)
2. Oklahoma (13)
3. Auburn (2)
5. Florida State
TIN UIN G/Daly
Michigan State coach John L Smith
The Michigan-Michigan State rivalry usually
brings a great deal of excitement with it. But
the level of anticipation infinitely multiplies
when both teams are in the hunt for the Big
Ten title. Such is the case this year. For Michi-
gan State, being-in contention in late October
is an accomplishment in itself. The Spartans
were expected to struggle this year - and
did early on, dropping a game to Rutgers en
route to a 1-2 start. But Michigan State has
bounced back to start the conference season
3-1, thanks to the insertion of sophomore
Drew Stanton into the lineup as starting auar-